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On one hand, mercenaries are money-grubbing scumbags who'll fight for whoever pays top dollar. On the other hand, if we were going to go into battle we'd want paying pretty damned well, so we can see exactly where the mercenaries are coming from. Oh well - the likelihood of us ever being in a position to command huge battlefield fees is pretty much non-existent anyway. We'd much rather pretend through the medium of videogames.

Mercenaries is almost the exact opposite of Pandemic's last big title, Full Spectrum Warrior. That was a proper army sim - this one's a lot more freeform. Think of it as GTA in a warzone with professional soldiers rather than hoodlums and you're on the right track. And like GTA, you can help yourself to whatever vehicles and weapons you like - unlike GTA though, you can get your hands on some seriously beefy gear right from the off.

Pandemic have been hard at work making sure their game packs a hell of a lot of impact - huge explosions are the order of the day in many missions, and the freeform structure means that you're able to pick the most destructive solutions to problems if you want to. Want to assassinate someone by nicking a gunship and blowing up the building he's hiding in? No problem, although you'll have to be careful you don't annoy any of the competing factions in doing so - building and maintaining alliances is another part of the game.

Loads of vehicles, loads of weapons and 52 whole missions set in a near-future North Korea gone horribly wrong - could this be a hard-boiled GTA beater? We'll let you know soon enough.

Mercenaries will be released for PS2 and Xbox in February